VOICES Notes and news on Jazz releases
10 MAR 12 CHRIS SLAWECKI
Barry Harris' 1961 trio session Preminado (Original Jazz Classics, 1990) presents one of Detroit's finest pianists playing at a critical time and in a style that represents the convergence of bebop and hardbop that was essential to the development of modern jazz. There's also a deep connection between Harris and drummer Elvin Jones that beats with the pulse of their shared Motor City hometown.
Harris' unaccompanied romp through "I Should Care" (a Monk favorite) straddles the blues spectrum of jazz from Count Basie's cheery funk through Ellington's elegance to Monk's irrepressibly rocking beat. There's something almost regal about Harris' solo piano march that introduces his original "Preminado," at least until the rhythms veer sharply south, toward the steamy Afro-Cuban funk tropics. With just a few precise strokes and beats, drum and piano also pull the colors of an island sunset out of "One Down." Known for more powerful and explosive playing, Jones' drumming on Preminado is both bombastic and nuanced.
Harris appears in multiple configurations throughout the Concord catalog: Alone on Listen To Barry Harris... Solo Piano (OJC, 1998); At The Jazz Workshop (OJC, '92) and Chasin' The Bird (OJC, 1996) among other Trio sets; Newer Than New (OJC, 2001) by the Barry Harris Quintet; and Bull's Eye! (OJC, 2002) by the Barry Harris Sextet. Harris also supported numerous sessions led by fellow Detroiters, including Yusef Lateef's landmark Eastern Sounds from the RVG Remaster Series.